Blog Archives

Something More: Revolutionary Jesus Utena, Dehumanizing Titans, and My Soul, Your Idols

I recently had a discussion with an old friend over Facebook. He’s a person I dearly care about and who I once discipled, but who has since left the faith largely because of his debelief in the miracles in (and writings of) the Bible.

Are we in a more skeptical day and age than ever before? I think probably we are. But the faithful Christian must not forget that God is God and not everything can be explained.

Our own Medieval Otaku, on his self-named blog, dives into the miraculous a bit as he compares the character Amami from Re-Kan to a prayerful Catholic. He dives into the topic of saints and angels and how we might connect to them through prayer. Amami, like a Christian, is open to the unseen when others may be skeptical or downright hostile. As Medieval Otaku states, “Anything touching upon the supernatural, whether souls, ghosts, miracles, the saints, the sacraments, or even God, is usually treated with distrust or contempt.”

I’m reminded of a lunch I had a week or two ago with a friend. We discussed how one should approach Genesis, and in the midst of all our talk, I had to reiterate this: while it’s important to approach the Bible with intellectual honesty and to examine it carefully, we’ve also all been convicted by the unseen God, filled with the Holy Spirit, and are being transformed as we commune with God. In our rush to dismiss mysticism that might intrude on our faith, we can’t forget that God is God, and things impossible with man are possible with Him. We cannot limit God because we’re limited – doing so ultimately negates the grace of God and our faith entirely:

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.

– 1 Corinthians 15:12-14

Read Medieval Otaku’s wax more eloquently on the topic (and in a different direction than I have) at his site:

>> How Re-Kan’s Amami Reminds Me of a Prayerful Catholic

Naoi’s painful childhood as show in Angel Beats! reminds of poor fathering by Isaac in the Bible, and our model for perfection through the story of the Prodigal Son. [Old Line Elephant]

In the same episode, Naoi declares himself God, reminding us of how we, too, develop idols in our controlling, imperfect manner. [2]

In the next episode, we find Otonashi’s life had revolved around a different kind of “idol worship” – that in which we worked for temporary things of this world. [3]

The way Utena loves Anthy in Revolutionary Girl Utena reminds us God’s concern for “the other,” with the other also representing all of us. [Taylor Ramage’s Blog]

The blurred lines between humanity and the inhuman in Attack on Titan and XenoBlade Chronicles points toward the way we often dehumanize others, and what the cost of doing so is. [Geekdom House]

Finally, I would be negligent to not mention that one of our dear friends, Tommy, has opened a Patreon account. If you enjoy his critical analysis (particularly of Toonami series), please pledge to support him! [Anime Bowl]

As part of the Something More series of posts, Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK to be included. 

Something More: Godless Death Note, Virgin Mary Adventure Time, and Sinner Moon Crystal

Another season of anime has come and gone – and that quickly, a new season is upon us! But before we move too quickly ahead, let’s be reminded of the spiritual notes that rang out from some of the latter episodes of Spring 2015 series, as well as commentary about a few older anime:

Death Note provides an interesting case of the slippery slope in thought processes that can occur when God is separated from one’s worldview. [Lady Teresa Christina]

You know about the Bible anime that Osamu Tezuka created at the request of the Vatican, right? It’s kind an interesting deal. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Can religious characters be used in fiction while retaining their spirituality? Sure! Look to Saint Young Men for an example. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

The paradox of Christian love is seen in Nameko Families, where Bad Nameko does that which is purely good. [Old Line Elephant]

Episode 24 of Sailor Moon Crystal demonstrates to us the results of “sinful” decision-making. [Christian Anime Review]

As episode 6 of Re-Kan! shows, encouragement from others is a necessity – and this also holds true for a Christian’s walk. [2]

Who are we deep inside, beneath the facades? Hachiman asks that question in OreGairu, and the same should be asked in terms of spirituality. [3]

Adventure Time has, maybe for good reason, inspired artwork illustrated as Christian iconography. [Taylor Ramage’s Blog]

As part of the Something More series of posts, Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK to be included.


Examining Old School Anime: the Arcadia as the Church

Occasionally, I find myself writing posts like this, where I ramble on about a vague idea.  They have the virtue of giving my dear readers an insight into how my mind works, though I can’t claim the following as a polished article.  In this case, the condition of Captain Harlock’s world in 2977 A.D. reminds me of Our Lord’s complaint to St. Faustina about how many modern souls are lukewarm with respect to religion.  This lukewarm attitude may be traced to the Enlightenment.  (Actually, some trace it to the late Middle Ages, but the symptoms became obvious after the Renaissance.)  More and more people questioned the validity of religion: didn’t religion lead to eighty years of continuous warfare during the Renaissance?  Isn’t faith purely irrational?  It became popular to cleave to a deistic model of the universe, and devoutly following the precepts of an organized religion became associated with the unsophisticated masses.  The pursuit of science and secular philosophy became valued over theology, which had been regarded as the Queen of the Sciences.


This departure from God has brought the modern world to the problem expressed in Tolstoy’s dilemma, which I recall from his A Confession.  At one point in his life, Tolstoy suffered from such severe depression that the sight of a gun or a rope produced thoughts of suicide.  He saw his position–the position of one in a Godless universe–as of one who had been chased into a dry well by a terrible monster.  Fortunately, he caught a branch on the way down, for he sees a dragon on the bottom of the well waiting to devour him as soon as he lets go.  The monster above prevents him from climbing out of the well, which means that he must fall to his death below as soon as his strength gives out.  Why not just let go?  But, aha!  There’s some honey dripping from a the branch!  Why not enjoy the honey for as long as one can before letting the dragon eat one?  Ultimately, this is a futile activity, but the honey has the virtue of distracting one.

Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Maria the Inaccurate Witch, Guslinger Augustine, and the Divine Satsuki

It’s that time of the year again when new anime come out to play!  We’ve got one post on a new series below, and number about shows that have completed their runs.

Taylor zeroes in on Satsuki of Kill la Kill as a divine figure. [Taylor Ramage’s Blog]

Medieval Otaku dives into the medievalness of Maria the Virgin Witch, discussing how accurate the series was to that historic time, including how the show portrayed “heretics.” [Medieval Otaku]

Romance is discussed often in the bible, the absurdities of which are on full display in Urusei Yatsura. [2]

Nameko Families, an anime about anthropomorphic mushrooms, can tell us a lot about Christian love and forgiveness in a marriage. [Old Line Elephant]

A Christian newspaper in Japan is featuring a religious slice-of-life manga, whose protagonist is named Pyuuri-tan. [Kotaku]

Did you catch the St. Augustine quote in the first episode of Gunslinger Stratos? [Aliens in This World]

iblessall saves her lowest rating of the 2015 winter anime season for Maria the Virgin Witch, largely for it’s misrepresentation of Christianity. [Mage in a Barrel]

The finale for KanColle evokes teachings about the body of Christ. [Christian Anime Review]

As part of the Something More series of posts, Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  Thanks to Laura of Heart of Manga for pointing me toward the Pyuuri-tan news!  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK to be included.


Untangled: Maria the Virgin Witch and Being an Ezekiel in Christian Society

In our Untangled feature, we answer questions posed to us from our readers.  Today’s question/comment (revised) comes from a long-time reader of our blog:

Junketsu no Maria 7 won’t leave my mind. Here we have Ezekiel berated for the sins of love and mercy. And he (she?) does deeply regret ignoring Heaven’s orders… only he hates the idea of killing the innocent so much more!  Ezekiel pleads he cannot act because he does not understand the main character’s sin.

“I didn’t make you to think,” the archangel Michael refutes Ezekiel’s doubts. “My words are the words of Heaven.”

It is a dead-end street for Ezekiel. His mind will not dare blame the religious authority, his heart will not cast away love and mercy. What is there left for him but to blame himself for… for what?

I feel like Ezekiel’s plight perfectly reflects the tribulations moral and thinking people go through in a Christian/Catholic society. We are called upon to hate, abandon and destroy in the name of God. That’s maniacal heresy, certainly, but words of hate and division are sweet indeed, especially when spoken from a position of heavenly authority. As the poison spreads, many an Ezekiel is born. Those poor souls retained their sanity and suffer for it in solitude and silent doubt: might they be the insane ones?

The reader goes on to give examples, mentioning a priest decrying My Little Pony as satanic and the church as “spawning internal conflicts by delving into politics and dishing out the tried and true ‘you are with us or against us.'”  He concludes with this:

The will of Heavens is unfathomable, the Church will say – the end-all of any discussion, the all-answer. But wait a moment longer and you will be told exactly what the Heavens want you to think and do. “My words are the words of Heaven.” That is most unfathomable!

I think of the Ezekiel curled up silently by the riverside, and wonder what words I can offer him. And I tell him, if you do not doubt God, make sure you doubt that Archangel.

My response? Hallelujah!

Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Maria Watches Over Japan, Eschatology of Korra, and a New Christian Anime Forum

As another anime season draws to an end, it’s time to get excited about new series around the corner! But before that, we have season and series finales coming up, and with the importance that ideas like salvation, grace, and transformation play in many anime, it’s a rich time to dig into spiritual topics as expressed through some of our favorite shows!

Many Christian geeks will proudly display their Naruto gear, but aren’t so open about faith. What does say about them? What’s the response? [The Budding Philosopher]

And on that tangent, why do Christians often separate the nerd side of themselves from the “Christian” part? [Believers and Fandoms]

In shows like Maria the Virgin Witch and Maria Watches Over Us, we get a glimpse into how much the Japanese know of Catholicism, and how they view it. [Eugene Woodbury’s Blog]

The Legend of Korra tackles eschatology, or the religious perspective on end times. [Taylor Ramage’s Blog]

The “Sneak Entry” arc of Bleach contains some religious content and themes (perhaps not enough) for Christians, if you like the series enough to look past it’s shortcomings. [Geeks Under Grace]

Episode 17 of Your Lie in April demonstrates the way Christians should show friendship to one another. [2]

And speaking of Your Lie in April, have you noticed it’s similarities to Kids on the Slope?  Not least of all is a Christian message of sharing love. [Famous Rose]

D.M. Dutcher highly recommends Figure 17, and finds it mostly safe to watch for Christians. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

A new Christian otaku community has sprung up.  Here, the founder reflects on the significance of “wholesome” anime. [Christianime]

As part of the Something More series of posts, Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK to be included.


Something More: Kill la Cross, Madoka’s Universal Church, and Sailor Moon Mythology

Welcome to the first of our more sporadic version of Something More.  The blogosphere has been resplendent in it’s spiritual-related articles the last couple of week, regarding anime series both current and classic.

Christian symbolism runs rampant in Kill la Kill, as do opportunities to discuss Christian themes and ideas, particularly as they relate to clothing, in the series. [Taylor Ramage’s Blog]

The Spice and Wolf light novels paint God as malicious, but does this really to his true character? [Medieval Otaku]

Christianity plays a role, at least superficially, in countless anime series, as Eugene Woodbury states:

At the same time, in terms of theology, the suggestively Catholic Haibane Renmei can stand beside any of C.S. Lewis’s work as a powerful Christian parable. The same is true of anime such as Madoka Magica and Scrapped Princess, though you may have to look harder to see through the metaphors.

But he also goes on to suggest that the Japanese view toward the faith may rather reveal a positive view for many of the country’s feelings toward religion as compared to western ones. [Eugene’s Blog]

Speaking of Madoka, Woodbury recently explained that the series is “an exploration of the doctrine of universal reconciliation.” [2]

Is Mushi-shi a fatalistic series? Perhaps quite the contrary… [Organizational ASG]

To the tune of Christian themes, there’s more to A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd than meets the eye. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Sailor Moon draws more than merely character names from Greco-Roman mythology. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

And continuing with Sailor Moon, episode 14 of Sailor Moon Crystal emphasizes the power of prayer…even if it is to the Crystal Tower. [Geeks Under Grace]

The dividing of the girls in episode 5 of KanColle brings to mind the discomfort the early Christians must have felt as they started their mission. [2]

As part of the Something More series of posts, Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK to be included.

Five Reasons to Give up Anime for Lent

Today marks to beginning of the Lenten Season.  Although I’m not Catholic, and have never observed the tradition of giving up a vice or practice for Lent, I certainly understand that this custom holds significance for many (Medieval Otaku, one of our newest writers, could certainly tell you more).  There’s also an increasing trend of Protestants practicing this custom, including a number of college folks at my own church.  And on social media, a quick search reveals the idea of many perhaps giving up anime for Lent.

lent 2

Although mostly tongue in cheek, I would be surprised if many Christians weren’t sincerely thinking of doing so, especially in light of how common media and social media fasts have become.  And although we aren’t separatist in our beliefs here, instead really focusing on all the good there is to be seen in anime, both on a surface level and on a deeper, thematic level, there could be very good reason to dump anime for the next 40 days.  Here are five reasons why you might consider doing so:

1. You Feel Convicted To

Sometimes we’re compelled to take action on things in our life, often without strong rhyme or reason.  It could certainly be that the voice you’re hearing isn’t a simple back and forth in your head, but rather the Holy Spirit convicting you to do something.  Or perhaps a trusted peer had suggested to you that it might be a good idea to let anime go until Easter. Although prayer discernment is always recommended, conviction certainly plays a role in a Christian’s decision-making. Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Junketsu No Maria and the Church…Oh Boy…

One of the more interesting series this season is Junketsu no Maria, which I became aware of through my friend Alexander, of Ashita no Anime.  The first group of links below discuss the series’ tone toward Catholicism and the Catholic Church, and join another gaggle of terrific posts about religion from anibloggers this week.

Junketsu no Maria is stirring a lot of discussion, particularly as it relates to its anti-Catholic tone. [Mage in a Barrel]

Draggle, on the other hand, sees it a bit differently. [Draggle’s Anime Blog]

The series also brings to brings this thought to the forefront – why does God let evil and pain exist? [Joeschmo’s Gears and Grounds]

Though E Minor doubts whether this series will bring any depth regarding religious discussion at all. [Moe Sucks]

Kuroshitsuji demonstrates an interesting biblical idea – that through faith, man can “defeat” demons. [Old Line Elephant]

Sensuality, food…and God? Koufuku Graffiti brings these threads together surprisingly well. [A Series of Miracles]

Assassination Classroom is part of anime’s declaration that teacher are so very important, an idea which the Bible also emphasizes. [A Series of Miracles]

Shingeki no Bahamut does many things well, including demonstrating the four kinds of love, as given by C.S. Lewis. [Medieval Otaku]

Casey Covel gives Bleach a middling review, and provides in-depth analysis for Christians as they approach the series. [Geeks Under Grace]

In somewhat of a story-like manner, Tofugu continues his chronicle of the history of Christianity in Japan. [Tofugu]

As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included


Something More: Less Game More Life, Ranma Devalues Akane, and Good Samaritan Art Online

This week was full of great articles about spirituality – many, as usual, about Christianity, but note the first link below, from academic and frequent convention panelist, Charles Dunbar, which focuses on Shinto and Buddhist traditions.

Charles Dunbar investigates A Letter to Momo and discusses the spiritual idea of our loved ones watching over us after death. [Study of Anime]

Frank sees Seishuu’s actions and thoughts as an example of pride, humility, and fear in episodes three and four of Barakamon. [A Series of Miracles]

Michael looks at No Game, No Life and takes a Christian perspective with gaming addiction. [Gaming and God]

He also examines the idea of doing ministry at conventions. [2]

Annalyn digs into Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet and the reason why human life is valuable. [Annalyn’s Thoughts]

She also looks specifically at the beauty of women in her essay on Akane from Ranma 1/2. [2]

Rob continues is Christian-centered anime reviews, looking at the idea of forgiveness in Sword Art Online II, episode four. [Christian Anime Review]

He also draws a really neat parallel to the Christian idea of helping others in episode four of SAO II. [2]

Medieval Otaku digs into the complex question of the morality of Kisara’s vengeance in Black Bullet. [Medieval Otaku]

And finally, Josh presents a little baptismal humor involving Sailor Moon. [Res Studiorum et Ludorum]

As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included.  Thanks this week to Don for pointing me toward Josh’s post!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,620 other followers